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How to Upcycle Furniture in 5 Easy Steps


Giving a second life to an old piece of furniture is a lot easier than you think. With many of us striving to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, upcycling your furniture is a simple way to freshen up your home’s style while limiting your impact on the environment.

Painting is very easy,” says Lisa Rickert the founder of Jolie Home. “It’s a great way to transform your entire space, from walls, floors, furniture, objects, and accessories, or anything that needs a new look or a refresh.” If you’re planning on giving your furniture a makeover, here’s how to start.

1. Choose your piece.

So, what can you actually upcycle? Almost anything! From antique dining tables to small storage units and a wide range of knick knacks, as long as you have the right tools, it’s fairly easy to repurpose things and increase their value.

2. Organize your kit.

Depending on what condition your furniture piece is in, you may need to give it a light sand to ensure that the surfaces are smooth, so sandpaper is a must. You’ll also want to stock up on a range of different paint brushes (depending on how detailed you’d like to get), have a roll of soft painter’s tape on hand for edges and details, and of course, a selection of paint.

3. Prepare your space.

Before beginning, place a drop sheet (or layers of newspaper) over the floor or work table to ensure any messes made aren’t permanent. Give your furniture piece a good wipe down and a light sand as needed so that your paint can be applied evenly.

Use a flat paint stirrer and make sure you give your paint a good mix, as paint that has been sitting still for a long period of time will have an uneven spread of pigment throughout. Use the painter’s tape and tape over any segments you don’t want to paint, like drawer faces or hardware.

4. Base Coats

The most fun part of choosing to upcycle your old furniture is deciding on a color palette and decorative style. Treating your piece as a blank slate opens up a world of possibilities. Using your paint brush, give your furniture a base coat.

The type of brush strokes you use on your piece will affect the final finish of your piece so take care with your directions. While seeing visible brush strokes can add a rustic touch, if you’re aiming for something more modern, consider investing in a high density foam roller for a smooth finish. Check the instructions on your paint tin for waiting time and then apply a second coat.

After this, the world is your oyster. Play around with different finishes, patterns, and color palettes to add a dramatic new look.

5. Seal It

This final step is not required, but highly recommended, especially if you’re upcycling a piece that will frequently come in contact with hands and other objects.

Again, depending on what paint you’ve used for your upcycling project you’ll require a different product: you may want to try finishing wax for certain items or a clear top coat for others. Research your materials!

This article was originally written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.

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